Process versus Product

Posted by on July 27, 2010

In my crafting, am I a product crafter or a process crafter? Is my main focus the final creation or is my main focus the act of creation? I was thinking about this a couple of days ago, especially as it relates to my Ravelry activity in the Ravelry Group HPKCHC (Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup). In this group, we are sorted into houses, the same houses that are in the Harry Potter Group. Each month we have six classes in which to do homework. In each three month term there is the opportunity to propose and complete an OWL, which is a more complex project intended to take more than one month to complete. There is also Quidditch which usually encourages us to make things for charity. And there is also other challenges to complete. Between every three month term there is a holiday month; no classes but sometimes other activities to encourage us to complete any WIPs (works in progress). Completed projects earn points for your House, so it is also a competition. Also, there are individual prizes that are offered to extraordinary projects. It is a fun group and a fun game. I’ve done a lot of things in conjunction with the group since joining it in September 2009. I’ve knit a lot of things, used up a lot of stash, found new patterns that I liked, got motivation to complete some of the things that were in my queue, spun some yarn from fiber that had been sitting around a long time, crocheted a lot of hats for charity. This is my third term. August will be a holiday month and I hope to get back to a sweater I had started back in April and which I put aside because I think I will run out of yarn.

So it is fun. But it appeals to the product side of knitting. I have mostly made things that I was somewhat interested in, even if they are silly little things like the Niffler House or the Masquerade Mask or the Turtle Hat or the Broomstick Bookmark.

Niffler House

Masquerade Mask

Make Me a Turtle

There have been other times where I just made something because it fit into one of the class descriptions, like the Ninja bunny, which was a Hufflepuff house project for Charms May 2010 or the Broomstick Bookmark.

Charging Bunny

Zooming Along

There have been times when the HPKCHC group and game  have really inspired me to get going on something that, for one reason or other, I had been putting off. Spinning some laceweight cashmere/silk was one such project.

I Dream of Lace

And, just recently, I spun three silk yarns for a History of Magic OWL The fiber had been in my stash for a very long time and I really am glad that I finally got all of it spun.

But, as I was contemplating what I will do for my OWL(s) in September when the new House Cup term starts, I was wondering if somehow the game is restricting me and boxing me in to being a product crafter. I have ideas and projects queued which I do want to make. But now I’m starting to prioritize the projects as to whether or not I feel I can complete them in the three month time period. In September I will be teaching a class (a class in Real Life, not in a Ravelry Group) that is new to me. So I know I won’t have a lot of crafting time. And so I’m thinking that perhaps I won’t start on the Faerie Ring sweater that has been in my queue for a while. I just don’t know if I will be able to complete it within that three month time period, especially since there are some modifications that I want to do to it. That may be perfectly OK because there are other things in my queue that I think I can do in three months and that I can do within the guidelines for the game. Now I know that I am a product knitter. I like to start a project and get it done. I don’t experiment with all the different ways one can construct a sock; when I start on a pair of socks, I want to just finish them. If I make a mistake that I can fix pretty well without ripping all the way back, I will do that. So product knitting and a group that encourages product knitting is probably fine for me.

But …

I think I am a process spinner at heart and that’s where I finding a bit of tension within myself. I usually spin for the sheer pleasure of spinning. I don’t usually have a project in mind. I don’t usually set deadlines for myself. So, even though having a deadline did spur me to finish my cashmere/silk laceweight yarn (and I am very happy that I finally mustered up enough courage to start and complete  this), having deadlines in spinning is really not where I want to be. I like to have something on the spinning wheel and be able to sit down, whenever, to do a bit of spinning. I wonder if I can find a balance between spinning something for  a deadline and spinning for pleasure. I don’t know if that is possible. If I have a deadline will I lose that meditative aspect that I find in spinning.

I’m competitive enough that participating in a game, such as HPKCHC, does drive me. But I don’t want to lose myself either. I will have to think about this some more.

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